Update August 12, 2019: Sadly, the Minecraft Super Duper graphics pack has been cancelled. Mojang said that they "weren't happy" with its performance across devices. Unfortunately, it looks like Minecraft will not get enhancements on the Bedrock Edition any time soon. But you can pick up awesome shaders for the PC Java Edition of Minecraft.
In 2017, Microsoft revealed the Minecraft 4K Super Duper graphics pack, set to bring gorgeous new visuals to the game's famed blocky art style. The Super Duper graphics pack includes all-new shaders, lighting effects, new textures and includes more detailed models, but as of yet, it hasn't materialized.
So what's going on? Here's what we know (so far).
Microsoft was keen to emphasize that the Super Duper graphics pack is entirely optional. While the free update will bring 4K and HDR support to Xbox One X and Windows 10 PC versions of the game, the Super Duper graphics pack is an optional expansion that will change Minecraft's iconic look to add a little modern flair. Here are some of the ways it will enhance the game.
- Volumetric lighting.
- Enhanced water textures, complete with reflective surfaces.
- Dynamic shadows with object edge highlighting.
- Reflective textures for blocks, adding highlights to diamond blocks for example.
- 3D models for objects that were previously just flat textures, such as rail tracks and foliage.
While Minecraft for Xbox One X and Windows 10 PC will pick up 4K and HDR features for free, the Super Duper graphics pack which includes some of the more advanced features such as volumetric lighting and texture updates will be a paid content expansion. Walmart listed the Super Duper graphics pack at $10 before the listing was pulled, so expect the price to be somewhere in that region.
Release date: Super Duper delay
The Minecraft Super Duper graphics pack has been delayed somewhat, originally expected to launch in 2017. The pack is being built for the Bedrock version of Minecraft, specifically with high-end Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One X in mind.
A Minecraft developer has confirmed that the graphics engine for the Bedrock edition of Minecraft (which runs on Xbox One, Windows 10, Nintendo Switch, mobile devices, and VR) had to be re- written in order to support these new features.
As such, it looks as though the Super Duper graphics pack may not even make it out in 2018, possibly pushed back into 2019. Long story short, don't expect it any time soon (as of writing). We'll update you as soon as we know more.
Update April 26, 2019: We've checked in with some of our sources within the Minecraft team and it sounds as though work is still ongoing, however the project has developed a little further beyond being a mere "graphics pack," and has ended up requiring a significant re-write of the Bedrock graphics engine to accomodate features like ray tracing. There is still no planned launch time frame for Super Duper as of writing. We'll try and get further clarification from Microsoft as soon as possible.
Worth the wait?
If the Super Duper graphics pack looks anything like it does in the original teaser video, I'd say that it will be worth the wait. The features described in the video have only been available to PC gamers using the Java Edition laced with mods up to this point, so for these sorts of advanced visuals to be available more broadly will be super duper.
You can grab Minecraft for Xbox One, Windows 10, and various other platforms for around $20 to $25.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!